Jad Kamal lost his job and health insurance in March.
Source: Jad Kamal
What followed were headaches. “Sorting out Medicaid and unemployment was work,” Kamal, 36, said. “I didn’t mind putting in the effort, but the prohibitive layers of bureaucracy make you feel like they don’t actually want to help you.”
This one-two punch of losing your paycheck and then your health insurance will be a familiar pain to many people during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, more than 160 million Americans received health insurance through their employer. Over the last few months, with unemployment claims exceeding 40 million, that popular pathway to coverage has quickly narrowed.
“It’s stressful for most people right now, but particularly if you’ve been laid off and have lost coverage,” said Caitlin Donovan, a spokesperson for the National Patient Advocate Foundation, a nonprofit that helps patients access and pay for health care.
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